Twelve Nigerian students arrested by the police are to face trial for cybercrime in the Republic of Benin.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that seven out of the 12 students detained on allegations of cybercrime had been released on bail.
The suspects’ names were given as Mathew Langgapp, Bayo Oyenuga, Tari Bori, Samuel Akinwande, Dunchi Dennis, Steven Porobunu, Chuckwudi Valentine, Peter Ochani, David Esu, Emmanuel Chukwuneke, Timi Ogunleye and Jacob Oluwatobi.
The SSA explained that the development was contained in a brief sent by the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Amb. Kayode Oguntuase.
Mr Oguntuase in the brief reportedly said the Aglagandan Commissioner of Police, one Mr Gaston, alleged that based on intelligence, the students were placed on surveillance and they were allegedly caught perpetrating cybercrime.
He added that a meeting had been scheduled with the Porto Novo Tribunal Prosecutor to address the problems of indiscriminate arrest of Nigerians for alleged crimes in the country, while a fair trial would be demanded for those arrested.
The SSA in a statement in Abuja on Sunday by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, explained that the students were arrested by the police without the knowledge of the Nigerian Embassy in Benin Republic.
The number of those arrested, she said, was contrary to claims by one Ms Joke Kujenya from Katsina State that over 50 Nigerian students were being held by the Benin authorities.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said the consular officer in Benin Republic, after series of negotiation and entreaties, was able to secure the release of seven students from Aglaganda Police Station on July 5, 2018, adding that efforts were ongoing to secure the release of the remaining five.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa repeated her pleas to Nigerians in diaspora to avoid crime and criminality while ensuring prompt intervention of administration in matters involving Nigerians anywhere in the world.
“She implored all Nigerians to be law–abiding and shun any act capable of tarnishing the good image of Nigeria,” the statement added.